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7 Parenting Tricks That Give Your Kids A Happy Childhood

7 Parenting Tricks That Give Your Kids A Happy Childhood

Bringing your kids up to be happy and stable is the most important job you can have as a parent. Instilling happiness into a child means cultivating a mindset that allows a child to think positively and have experiences that back up a sense of wellbeing.

There are many parenting tricks that can help your children lead happier and mentally healthier lives, and there are some countries that come out on top when it comes to overall happiness. So what exactly are they doing right?

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Denmark and other Scandinavian countries such as Norway and Sweden continually win the yearly “happiest country to live in” contest, and they have a culture that helps to ensure children are brought up happy and content. This is mainly down to “hygge” — moments of set family time that Scandinavians practice throughout their lives. Here I’ll explain more about hygge and how it can help produce 7 successful habits of parenting we can use that go towards raising happier children.

1. Create Set “We” Times Together

As parents, we all have busy lives, but hygge, a tradition in Scandinavian culture, basically translates as having cosy time together. Originally carved out of the deep, cold winters back when families spent time keeping warm and keeping each other company, the concept of hygge is still prevalent today and is seen as an important cultivator in family happiness. Think of it as a form of mindfulness spent together as a family unit.

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Putting special time aside each week to spend together, such as going for walks, a BBQ, or a special family dinner, creates a habit of “we” time. With computers, TV, and video games luring kids away, along with busy, hectic lives for parents means it’s even more crucial to make this together time a way of cultivating happiness for children and the whole family.

2. Lessen The Negativity

This is probably an obvious one. After all, you can’t cultivate positivity from constant negative environments. However, while it’s not always easy to create positive vibes all the time (we’re human after all!), it is beneficial to cut down on complaining, arguing, and general negative talk. When creating these special times where you gather together, make sure it’s negative-free and purely there for enjoyment and connection between you all. The aim is to create a safe, positive space that children will respond well to and that will teach them the importance of having fun together, leaving negativity at the door.

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3. Create A Cosy Atmosphere

It’s traditional that the family time of hygge is cosy. Coziness emulates togetherness in Norway and Denmark, and this could involve cooking a hearty meal together, renting a cabin somewhere, or getting out and going somewhere beautiful away from the TV, computers, and video games. Creating a cosy space encourages human connection without the modern distractions that families face, even if just for a few hours.

4. Play Games And Have Fun

Remember the good old days of board games with the rain coming down outside and paddling pools in the summer? With video games causing more solitude from the family unit, it’s crucial that spending time together is fun and playful. Play is a wonderful way for children to laugh, learn, and be happy, and hygge creates the opportunity to use this as a bonding session. It’s all about enjoying and getting the most out of the present moment — a good habit to have when it comes to creating happiness in our lives.

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5. Share Positive Stories Together

Another way of cultivating happiness and bonding is sharing uplifting stories from your past with each other. This gives the opportunity for laughter, and laughter is known to improve health and boost happiness. It’s also a great way of allowing your children to get to know you better and teaching them the importance and benefits of storytelling. Again, it’s all about bonding and creating the kind of environment that children will want to come back to again and again.

6. Cultivate A Sense of Teamwork

Teamwork teaches a child not only a sense of responsibility, but allows them to see how helping out as a team makes life a whole lot easier. Coming together to cook, clean, and clear up — basically setting up the hygge experience — gives a child the opportunity to be an intrinsic part of hygge themselves. Contributing will become a habit for even the most reluctant of kids once they see how they reap the benefits that hygge provides.

7. Don’t Put Too Much Pressure On “Family Time”

While it’s really important to put time aside for the family to get together as a unit and have a positive experience, we all need our alone time. Children can get frustrated and so can parents — it’s all natural. That’s why there should be a time limit on the hygge time you spend together. It’s equally important to have the experience and then have your own individual time away. Spending too much time together can start to cause friction and take away from the positive experience you get when you do have these moments together.

Try introducing the concept of hygge to encourage a bit more happiness and family mindfulness into yours and your children’s lives. By getting into this routine, you are teaching your children habits that they will eventually pass on to their own children, and what a lovely thought that is!

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Jenny Marchal

Freelance Writer

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Published on January 30, 2019

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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The Bottom Line

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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